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Everything posted by OneStepAtATime

  1. Have you looked into the possibility of dysgraphia? Handwriting can be legible when written slowly and meticulously (for some dysgraphics) but can be painful and if they speed up then letter formation/spacing/spelling etc. can get really off. You might look into a LiveScribe pen or other technology support for in class notes. Also, if you got the number of a classmate with good notes maybe they would allow him to get copies of those notes. I would start working on his typing through a good typing program, too, if he isn't already. It can take a long time to get proficient enough at typing to actually be able to use that medium for output/notetaking/etc. but the sooner he starts building up muscle and procedural memory the sooner he will get proficient enough to use it for output/notetaking. Also, you might look at an evaluation by an Occupational Therapist to make sure there isn't anything off. Finally, have him work separately on hand strengthening exercises and improvement of his handwriting speed but work hard not to make him feel bad about his handwriting issues. Not everyone is going to have speedy handwriting. FWIW, with most on-line classes, the class is also recorded so he could go back and review the recorded class and take notes at his speed. Just something to think about as an option for the future. As for your friend, well her response shows a lack of understanding of how hard the physical act of handwriting can be. Also, if your child actually has dysgraphia then in a school setting he would likely qualify for accommodations through an IEP.
  2. On a side note, I would be trying to find ways to reduce conflicts between the two of you by removing you as "the bad guy" as much as possible while you seek answers. All those conflicts are reinforcing her reactions and you both may have inadvertantly settled into destructive patterns while trying to navigate these difficult waters. It happens, often through no one's fault. There is just quite often no way to know ahead of time what is happening or how to effectively address it and in the meantime you both have to survive and function. Patterns of interaction can form that in the long run may be reinforcing the dysfunctional behavior. It can also be very challenging to change that, especially since you aren't even entirely sure what is causing her issues or how to address them. This puts the parent and the child in a really tough, exhausting, painful situation. Huge hugs. I agree with you, you need to reduce the conflicts but I think right now that means reducing the situations where you are the one having to get her to do things she doesn't want to do. Morning seem especially challenging with trying to get her to school, even though she does well once she gets there. Is there anyone else that could take her to school? DH, carpool with neighbor, other relative? I'm just thinking that maybe others should step in wherever they can while you seek answers and work to forge a healthier dynamic.
  3. :grouphug: Do you feel that the medical professionals you are sending her to have a good handle on things? Are they responsive? Proactive in seeking answers? As for where else to go, perhaps a neuropsychologist for additional evaluations but at this point I don't guarantee that will net you much. Also, FWIW, sometimes it takes a while to find the right therapist and therapies. Have they tried Cognitive Behavior Therapy? Group sessions that include you to maybe help improve the dynamic between the two of you? Has she always struggled with these things or was there a point in her childhood when this was not her normal reaction? Has your pediatrician looked into PANS/PANDAS as a possible origin for some of her difficulties? (see link) http://www.pandasnetwork.org/understanding-pandaspans/what-is-pans/
  4. :grouphug: Frankly, with the situation as you describe, I would be extremely hesitant to bring her home under those circumstances, at least not right away. Instead, have you and she tried therapy to break the cycle with professional help? And what sorts of evaluations has she had? Could there be more than just ADHD? Just because a child has ADHD does not mean they will act as you describe. It sounds like perhaps there is more going on that she is struggling to cope with. I also agree with PeterPan, I would be very proactive in seeking answers and getting professional help to determine the underlying cause of the defiance/anger towards you and I would do it now. As she hits puberty this could get infinitely worse. :grouphug:
  5. Good point. Perhaps I should set up a link between the pinned reviews on the HS forum and the Gen Ed forum since many have kids in multiple grades and might start with Gen Ed first.
  6. And I agree with the others, keep it to just facts and experiences. What is a negative for one person may be a positive for someone else. Different kids learn differently and different families have different needs. If something didn't work for your family then yes, say so, but keep it to a neutral statement and why it didn't work. For instance, you could say that your children needed more visuals than were provided in Ms. X's class and then briefly explain the specifics of how that class is presented. No rancor. Just a simple statement of facts and why this did not work for your particular children.
  7. What about doing reviews like you suggested, sticking strictly to facts, in this pinned thread here? As long as you are sticking to facts and you are giving this review in a thread that is really specifically for that purpose, to help people find on-line classes that would work for their particular child, I don't see that as poor etiquette. And hopefully you will also be able to provide this teacher with some concrete feedback in that same vein so perhaps she can work to improve her offerings. I don't believe in witch hunts but I do believe it is valid to provide facts, especially in the right venue. even if those facts are not positive. http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/638806-master-list-of-on-line-classes/
  8. :grouphug: 1. Keep things simple, as much as possible. For lesson plans, do a very basic outline of core skills that you want to hit on and keep materials to use VERY SIMPLE. Audio books, read alouds, some math. Add to that once you are in a better place. Your kids are not in High School yet. Take this time to breath and keep it all very simple. Do your heavier planning further down the road. There is time. 2. As Sparkly Unicorn stated, exercise. As soon as you feel stressed, walk around. Like seriously walk all over the house or walk around the neighborhood or whatever, but just get moving. If you have some laundry to fold, do that. If you have dishes to wash, do that. Whatever you do, don't sit and let inertia and stress immobilize you. 3. Find something to do with your kids each day that brings you joy, if you possibly can. Focus on the fact that you are together in that moment. Sing some songs. Read a book. Do some Madlibs. Play at the park. 4. Deep breaths. This is a season, not eternity. Breath through this season. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:
  9. I wanted to come back and send you some additional hugs. You seem really freaked out. Please take a deep breath. Whatever you decide, it will be o.k. It will. Hang in there.
  10. :grouphug: If you want to bring her home then there is no reason you can't bring her home, unless this will cause a serious rift between you and your DH (in which case you might still bring her home but I would work really hard to get both of you on the same page). FWIW, though, head lice are not disease ridden. They won't poison your child. They are a drag to deal with and a lot of people get grossed out at the thought of them but they are not carrying some horrible disease, they don't carry poison, they are just annoying. They can be gotten rid of with a bit of effort, no harm done. This is not a life threatening situation. It is just kind of frustrating. Also, since the school knows, you can ask them what precautions they are taking to prevent this spreading and if you feel they are inadequate say so. In other words, I would not panic over head lice. Try not to let irrational fear rule your decision making ability. I would work hard to think through this situation, all the pros and cons, and make a decision based on that.
  11. I would not at all count on the school being o.k. with her joining in classes as a student just for the last 9 weeks of school each year. Have you actually asked them if that would be o.k.? I really doubt they would approve. This is actually NOT just a 9 week activity. It is a school and a teacher that has been teaching these students for several months, including lesson plans that build on each other, plus group dynamics and a whole host of things that go into making a classroom functional. Classrooms are not set up for students to just randomly show up just for a few weeks when they feel like it. In other words, your child will be coming in for the last grading period of a year of school, not for a 9 week summer camp. Do you know what materials they are using and where your child would place? Frankly, I am a little concerned now. Please do not treat this as something like a 9 week activity or summer camp that she can just sign up for each year. I doubt the teacher or the school will appreciate that viewpoint.
  12. If you are seriously o.k. with her possibly continuing at that school next year then I don't think there would necessarily be an issue. However, if you are absolutely NOT wanting her to attend school and she does fall in love you are setting both of you up for a hard time. You already took the tour, though, so I assume you have indicated to her that you would be o.k. with this. If she really wants to go to try it out and you are o.k. with her possibly wanting to continue in the fall, then sure, let her.
  13. Good luck! I wish kids came with a detailed manual, well laid out, with plenty of tabs. Or maybe a High Def crystal ball. :)
  14. Check out Open Tent Academy. They have writing courses that only last for the summer. There may be courses for just one semester after the summer, too. I don't remember. I do know they have three semesters besides their summer program. Some classes only cover one semester, some for two and some for all three. http://www.opententacademy.com/
  15. You cannot have a common law marriage with someone who is already legally married, AFAIK. At least not here in my state (Texas). A true Common Law marriage must meet quite a few criteria, not just living together for any length of time. Essentially a Common Law marriage, at least in Texas, is simply less formal. There is no official civil or religious service. You still have to meet certain specific criteria. As I understand it, this is what is required in my state: 1. You must be over 18. 2. You cannot already be married to someone else. 3. You must SAY you are married (both of you) and act like a married couple. 4. You must live together as a married couple. 5. To be certain it holds up you can also file a letter of intent stating that you are a married couple. Why not then just get married? Well, some people object to the hoop jumping that can be required for a true civil service. Some absolutely object to a religious service. Some live together for a while then decide they are "married" in all but the marriage certificate/religious ceremony sense but no longer feel that following that path is necessary. They are committed and living as a married couple would. They just continue in that vein, but now with more intentionality. So why have a common law marriage as even an option? Well there are probably several reasons but I will mention one that I know came up with a relative. Let's say you and your SO have been living together for many years. You started out with just a roommate situation but over time things became more serious. For personal reasons neither of you wants to go through a civil service and neither are currently religious. You care about each other and are committed but for various reasons (and there can be many) getting married through official channels was not a good idea or what you and your SO wanted. Still, you have lived together essentially as a married couple for many years. You still care about each other. You act as husband and wife and call each other so. You at this point have made it clear that you consider yourselves married. This relationship matters. Now one SO is in a car accident. They are in the hospital. They are unconscious and cannot advocate for themselves. Because of common law in their state the SO that is not injured has the ability to be in control of the health care of their SO, make decisions about end of life care, etc. If that injured SO dies, the other one is still given access to survivor benefits, access to records, etc. Without Common Law rights they might have none of those things. Now make it more complicated. Suppose there are relatives that are VERY different from the injured SO. They have a poor relationship. The injured SO may not have even had contact with them for years. The relatives are frankly pretty narcissistic and abusive. Because of Common Law those unwanted relatives would have a much harder time taking over the situation, making life and death decisions that might not mesh at all well with what the injured SO wants. Common Law gives the partner the ability to legally come to SO's defense and take care of them the way they would have wanted. Common Law also protects them from unwanted relatives trying take SO's belongings/money/benefits if they pass on. Frankly, I think there are a lot of nuances to this. I don't think this is a black and white, easy to determine, situation. I have never had a common law marriage but had a relative that did. I would not want this option completely removed, not without significant research into the various aspects of this issue.
  16. Yes it is possible that weather can still be a factor. Storms occur in May, too. Doesn't have to be snow and ice. As for 12 weeks traveling overseas with just a carry on and a personal item, that would be hard but not impossible. How easy will access be to laundry facilities? Does she need to have a lot of nice clothes with her or will casual clothes do? Does she need to carry bulky items with her, such as sketch pads/musical instrument/text books, etc.? There are many ways to compress and live minimally. It just depends on her needs/comfort level. For instance, my best friend traveled all over South America for several weeks with only a small mesh backpack. She kept two changes of clothing in materials that were easy to compress, plus one versatile jacket, her camera and cooking/eating utensils. But she did not carry make-up or bulky items and was used to finding local resources. She also did not plan to bring back physical souvenirs. She just took pictures. A normal size backpack would probably be too big to be considered a personal item. Check with the airline for size/weight requirements for personal/carryon/checked items. Different airlines have different criteria.
  17. Oh, and it might help to check reliability of flights. Some specific flight times for specific airlines at specific airports are notoriously worse than others for arriving anywhere near on time. Check track records. It won't be a guarantee but if she sees that the first leg is almost always late then that tells her it would make more sense to move that flight to something getting in even earlier, hopefully with a flight that has a better track record.
  18. I wanted to come back to this and add some things to this discussion. First, big hugs. What seems so simple to you is hard for her and you don't know why or how to help. That can make this a rather painful process. Hang in there. Many times many a homeschooling parent has walked this road. You are not alone. Second, this isn't "just math". This is math. Math can be an incredibly challenging subject. If you browse through old posts you will see that there are a TON of kids that struggle with this subject. Embrace that for your child this may take quite a bit of time and effort on your part to find ways to help her but also try not to stress. She is young. You have time. AND you are homeschooling, which means you can go at her pace, work with her to find things that help this particular child. Try hard to be understanding. Her brain may be working 10 times harder than yours to move a tiny step forward. Something isn't clicking. It isn't her fault. It isn't your fault. It just is. Work to help her while also supporting her. This may take a lot of time and patience. FWIW, math was a hard subject for me. My grandmother taught math for 33 years. She was brilliant at math. So was my dad. So is my brother. Not me. It was hard for any of them to help me because they intuited things that I could not. I needed a slower path, with a lot more explicit instruction, instruction they honestly had no clue I needed because that level of understanding was just THERE, in their heads. My teachers could not help me much, either though. Unfortunately, I was in ps and slowing down, going at my pace, finding materials that worked better for me, was not an option. I got behind. I got lost. I have discovered I do enjoy math but it took a long time to get there. One bit step for me, though, was separating math from math facts. Conceptual understanding of what I am doing has helped so much more than rote memorizing. I had to come to the understanding that some brains do not rote memorize with any success. My brain is one of those. I don't easily rote memorize anything and retention long term for something rote memorized is usually very poor. My daughter is the same. What we need are associations, and the "meat" of math to help us anchor to math. We need something for our brains to hang information on. Rote memorizing anything does not give us that. I can divide/multiply and do a host of other math processes without having my math facts entirely memorized. I have things to anchor to. I can skip count. I understand the concepts behind these things (up to a point) and can use mental and physical manipulatives to figure out answers. I have other tools in my tool belt as well. I have successfully run the family business for 20 years. I handle all the finances. I just had to find other ways to tackle math than relying on rote memorized math facts. Does that mean people shouldn't try? No. Memorizing math facts can be a HUGE help. What helps more, though, is actually understanding what one is doing and why they are doing it, IMHO. Again, though, for some there are basic building blocks that most people are born with but others are not. Those building blocks have to be built and it may take time, even years, to do so. I really think your child is missing one of those foundational pieces. Look at the Ronit Bird materials linked up thread. See if running through those might help her build a better math foundation. Hugs and good luck. ETA: On a side note, CLE math actually incorporates math fact practice as a separate thing from math lessons all the way through elementary. Kids can use a math chart as needed. They work through math concepts and algorithms with the chart as they need to while they slowly internalize math facts from separate math fact practice and the application of math facts in their lessons.
  19. If clothes worn once are still clean enough to be worn again they go back in the drawer or closet. But maybe my kids are messier than yours because that rarely happens. They get worn, they get dirty, they go to the dirty clothes hamper. I guess if this were an ongoing daily situation and I really felt like the worn clothes were just a tad too dirty to put back with clean clothes but just a tad too clean to rewash before another wearing I might get a plastic crate and have the kids fold and put those slightly worn clothes in there to be used another time...
  20. [Full discolsure: I am NOT a neat person. However, I have gotten fairly decent at putting systems in place to help me overcome my challenges in this area, at least for some things. LOL] I would systematically pick one child's clothes and go through all of them, asking/doing the following: Does everything in their closet/drawer actually fit? If not, pull it out and either donate it, sell it, or pass it down to a younger sibling. Is every item in their drawer/closet something they would actually wear (DD had started stockpiling clothing she liked but did not ever wear which took up a lot of space needed for things she was actually wearing. Took a bit of time to get her to realistically decide what things she would ACTUALLY wear vs. things she liked.)? Does everything in their closet have innumerable duplicates? In other words, if Child has 15 shirts in roughly the same style/size maybe it is time to cull down. Is there a good system for where to keep dirty clothes (vertical laundry basket) and where to keep clean clothes? Is there space? Once you have sorted all the clothes with that one child, see if there is now enough room/a good, logical, usable location for what they have left. For instance, DS has a tiny closet that is narrow and deep. Once we culled down it became apparent that it wasn't just too many clothes that was the issue. The closet was not well designed and he hated using it. We shifted 90% of his clothes to a chest of drawers in his room and organized it in such a way that made sense in his brain. There are 4 primary bottom drawers, two on each side. Very bottom drawers he put his short/pants. Shorts go on the left and pants go on the right. The drawers immediately above them are for shirts. Short sleeve shirts go above the shorts and long sleeve shirts go above the pants. The little drawers above those 4 drawers are for underwear, socks and swint suits. He helped me organize it and does a much better job now of keeping it all contained in those drawers. We try to purge/sort at least once a year.
  21. FWIW, fingers are another form of manipulative. I have no issues with fingers being used if the child is still needing manipulatives. The jump to abstract thinking can be a difficult one. Also, frankly math fact memorization can take years. And for some of us it has never happened, not entirely (and I mean my husband and I). I still run the family business and my husband is a successful engineer. Not having math facts memorized in their entirety, while making things a bit slower, was not the end of the world by any means. If she is getting concepts then separate out the two processes. Allow her to use a math fact chart or create her own and use that during normal math lessons so her resources aren't bogged down by lack of math fact recall. Work on math facts separately. Sometimes all a brain needs is something more to anchor those math facts to so having "real" math to work on without getting stuck in the quagmire of trying to find math facts in her head may help math facts solidify as she uses her chart. That being said, this seems to go beyond just struggles with math fact memorization. It seems she may have weak subitization skills and possibly low working memory. I would honestly run her through the Ronit Bird materials to solidify subitization skills. She may or may not have a diagnosable math issue of some kind (such as dyscalculia) but she obviously has some sort of disconnect that is making this process harder than normal. Try the Ronit Bird materials for a couple of months and see if she can start to improve her subitization skills. Probably start with the e-books. It will be basic. She may need that. I think somewhere along the line she missed a basic step in the process of building number sense and some kids are not born with those basic building blocks that just come naturally to others. Some kids need those very basic building blocks taught explicitly, from many different approaches, before they internalize. http://www.ronitbird.com/
  22. Really good points. I wanted to stress the bolded. If she can compartmentalize and go minimalist it really is infinitely easier just traveling with a carry on and a personal item. That isn't always possible but it really would be easier and would reduce the risk of something going wrong. I also strongly recommend carrying some paper cash/a credit card/ID/contact numbers (including country codes)/meds/glasses on her physical person, not in a purse, just in case the purse gets lost or stolen. And with numbers I mean the full written number, not relying on contact info in a cell phone.
  23. Well, she would have to leave the secure area to get her bag, then go back through security and recheck her bag, which is a pain, but doable. If the bag got lost on the first leg and did not turn up before she left on the second leg it might be infinitely more difficult to retrieve it since she would have to leave it behind to make the second leg. I mention this because DH and I ran into a similar issue and did not get our bag until our trip was over. It never caught up to us. We had to spend limited resources trying to replace essential items and making do with whatever we had with us for the rest. Thankfully our bag did finally turn up...as we were heading home. Other than that I don't see huge issues as long as she really does leave quite a bit of time between those two flights. But maybe someone else has more info and hopefully will post soon...
  24. I agree with others this sounds like Social Anxiety Disorder but it could also be coupled with Auditory Processing Disorder (and the two may be feeding off each other). You can have good hearing and still have APD. I would look into both.
  25. 1. There are things out that could be put up so it is "messy" in that sense. 2. All of these things could be easily and quickly straightened up even if there was no designated place for them to go so not "messy" in that sense. 3. All of these things could easily be provided with a designated place because there are not that many things laying about that really need a designated place so this is easy to address. In other words, while the room is a bit messy it is something that could quickly be taken care of, either for that afternoon or with a longer term solution in mind. This is not hoarder level in any way, shape or form so it would not bother me to have that room in my house one iota. I could probably have it straight and looking much neater within a few minutes.
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